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The 2011 Chevy Volt at CES 2010

The Volt's warranty matches that of industry leader Toyota's Prius warranty in most states.  (Source: GM)

The Volt undergoes shake testing.  (Source: GM)
Claims that the competitors don't come close

IPads, laptops, or cell phones typically come with at best a one-year battery warranty.  The Tesla Roadster comes with a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty.  However, GM is going to offer and unprecedented eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the advanced lithium-ion battery found in its upcoming 2011 Chevy Volt electric vehicle.

The Volt will launch later this year, priced somewhere north of $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit.  Initial launch markets will include Michigan, California and Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, and New York City (New Jersey, Connecticut and the rest of Texas will received Volts in early 2011).  

GM's Volt Battery packs have seen vigorous testing, including 1 million miles total miles of road tests and 4 million hours of validation testing.  They have also been subjected to an array of tests including corrosion, impact, water submersion, short circuit, crush and penetration, dust and extreme temperature changes.  Aggressive drive cycles, also known as "Shake, Bake, and Roll", were also tested.  The battery can reportedly withstand temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vice Chairman of Global Product Operations Tom Stephens says that the warranty -- three years longer than the standard GM powertrain warranty -- is a sign of the company's satisfaction with its finished product.  He states, "This is really a major statement of our confidence."

The warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, plus the vehicle's thermal management system, its electric drive system, and its charging system.  The

The 100k warranty is similar to the 100k mile warranty offered with the Toyota Prius.  Much like the Prius, whose warranty is bumped to 150k in California to meet California's Air Resources Board's standards, the Volt may receive an even longer warranty in California and other states that have adopted its standards.  California Air Resources Board has not yet specified what warranty GM would need to score partial zero-emission vehicle credits.

Other competitors also offer similar warranties -- the Honda Insight comes with a 100k, eight-year warranty (10-year, 150k in California) and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids come with an eight-year 100k warranty, as well.  However, the battery packs used in those hybrids are nowhere near as large as the one used in the Volt. Nissan so far has announced no warranty yet on its 2011 Nissan Leaf EV vehicle.

The Volt gets 40 miles on a fully charged battery under ideal conditions.  However, this can dip lower in hot or cold weather.  The gas engine should provide a steady 300 mile range, under almost any weather condition, when the tank is full.  GM initially plans to produce 10,000 Volts in 2010, bumping production to as many as 30,000 in 2011.

GM has scored $241 million in federal grants, including $106 million for its new battery pack assembly factory, to help with the cost of developing its electric vehicles.



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Warranty Marketing Spin
By jah1subs on 7/15/2010 9:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
I sold Ford Escape Hybrids for two years. IIRC, the battery warranties were due, at least in part, to some influence from state regulators. It is no accident that all of the warranties have the same length.

Currently, Ford and Toyota batteries are NiMH. I believe that the Volt battery is either Li or Li Ion. Not sure the impact of the change in battery technology.




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